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The Family of Colonial Heights Resident Sends a Fond Farewell

When 104 year-old Dorthy Stewart McElhaney of Colonial Heights passed away earlier this month, her daughter Glenna Kramer wanted an obituary as unique, sweet, and interesting as her mother had always been, something that would do justice to the beauty of her long life. Borrowing inspiration (and a few good lines) from a woman in Florida who had written her own obituary earlier this year, Ms. Kramer wrote her mother’s story as a personal letter that describes her journey, all the way from an idyllic childhood on a farm in Missouri to winning a blue ribbon at the Chesterfield County Fair at age 99.

In the story of Dorthy McElhaney’s life, we are reminded that the greatest riches are accumulated from the small things that give us joy: childhood memories, canning vegetables, spoiling grandchildren. In the fast-paced world of the 21st century, Ms. McElhaney’s tribute reminds us to try our best to slow down and appreciate where we are. Love your friends. Dote on your family. Enjoy the nature and history around you.

Much of our work as personal injury lawyers involves helping families deal with huge interruptions to the normal course of their lives: car and truck crashes, product injuries, work accidents, and medical treatment mistakes that suddenly turn life upside-down. Everyone who finds themselves in these situations wishes they could hit the rewind button and find a way to put things back the way they were. It is never possible to turn back the clock, but we work hard to help our clients get back on track and move forward with their lives in a new way. Sometimes in that process our clients are able to slow down and refocus their priorities in a way that makes life even richer after their accident than it was before.

In the middle of summer’s hottest month, we like the idea of slowing down a little bit and following the advice in Ms. McElhaney’s farewell letter: “Remember, do your best, follow your arrow, and make something amazing out of your life. Oh, and never stop smiling.”